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BellaOnline's Teen Editor

Taking a Year Off Before College

Are you a teen who’s tired of an academic environment? You’ve just graduated high school. You have the entire world at your fingertips. You’re feeling excited and anxious at once, and you really don’t know what to do with your life. You’re even wondering whether or not to go to college.

But maybe you're not sure why you're going to college or what you'll do when you get there. Maybe you wish to explore far-away places or have a career that interests you. If this sounds like you, perhaps now is the time to consider taking a year off between high school and college.

Of course, if your time is mostly spent watching soap operas and eating potato chips, all you'll have at the end is a wasted year. But with research and planning, you can design a semester or year that is both a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

Where Should I Start?

The essential factor of successful time off is planning. There are plenty of resources for students, including books, web sites, and your high school counselor. At your school or public library, look through a book about traveling, internships, volunteering or other opportunities for high school students. Now is the time to really find out what appeals to you?

Once you have an idea of what opportunities are available, think about goals you should have for your time off. Do you want to travel abroad? Learn a new language or improve your foreign language skills? Do you want to help others in any way possible? Explore career interests? Challenge yourself in the outdoors? Do you want to work?

What About College?

Once you've decided to take time off, it's tempting to forget about searching for a college until next year. But that's not a good idea!

First, the college search and application process is much easier while you're still in high school. You have easy access to your school's college resources, your guidance counselor and teachers, and several modes of communication.
Second, having your college plans in place can go a long way toward convincing your parents that you will go back to school after your time off.

So go ahead and complete the college admission process. Then contact the college you want to attend and ask that your admission be deferred for a semester or a year.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Dominique Jordan. All rights reserved.
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